clear
Wednesday September 2nd, 2015 6:36AM

3 young pandas at Atlanta zoo are girls, not boys

By The Associated Press
ATLANTA - Surprise! Three young giant pandas born at Atlanta's zoo that were thought to be males are actually females.

Actually, it's not so surprising.

"When they're born, there's really not much external difference to note," Zoo Atlanta deputy director Dwight Lawson said, explaining why four of the five cubs born at the zoo have initially had their gender misidentified.

The zoo announced Friday that 3-year-old Po and 4-month-old twins Mei Lun and Mei Huan are females, rather than males as originally thought. Mei Lan, the first panda born at zoo Atlanta, was originally thought to be female, but was later determined to be male. Five-year-old Xi Lan is the only one whose gender was correctly identified.

Staffers from the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China examined each of Zoo Atlanta's pandas shortly after their birth and announced their gender. But mistakes are common because there are virtually no external indicators. They also have only one cub at a time or, in the case of the twins, two of the same gender so officials don't have a basis for comparison.

Under a deal between China and the U.S., all giant pandas originally from China are loaned to foreign zoos. They and any cubs they produce must all return to China eventually.

Xi Lan and Po are set to leave for China at some point in the next few months. It was during a pre-shipment examination that veterinarians began to suspect that Po might actually be female.

"We said enough of this, let's do the genetic testing and confirm everybody and see where we stand," Lawson said.

The DNA testing revealed Po and the twins are female. There are no plans to change their names.

The fact that the three pandas are female is actually good news, Lawson said.

"Certainly in China, they're considered of more value for increasing the population," he said.

The entire panda population in captivity is managed genetically and demographically, and if Lun Lun, the mother of all five pandas born at Zoo Atlanta, had more boys, they would have had fewer breeding opportunities, Lawson said.
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Ethics laws set to take effect Jan. 1 in Georgia
After dominating much of the legislative session, a set of major ethics reforms is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.
7:04PM ( 1 year ago )
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 1 year ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
Police: Tip leads to new search for teen missing since 2007
Investigators hope a recent tip could help lead them to the body of a Georgia college student who went missing almost 8 years ago.
By Associated Press
5:13AM ( 1 hour ago )
Pedestrian struck, killed at Banks Crossing
The Georgia State Patrol confirms a pedestrian died after being struck by a large truck at Banks Crossing Tuesday night.
12:04AM ( 6 hours ago )
China leads Asian stock markets lower after poor factory data reinforce investor nervousness
HONG KONG (AP) — Asian stocks extended a global market sell-off Wednesday as poor manufacturing data from the world's two biggest economies dampened investor sentiment.KEEPING SCORE: The Shanghai Comp...
11:03PM ( 7 hours ago )
Gainesville City Council has short fuse on new fireworks law
The Gainesville City Council voted unanimously Tuesday evening to exercise the limited influence left under their jurisdiction by the General Assembly in the spectrum of consumer fireworks.
10:26PM ( 8 hours ago )
Senate GOP leader says it will take new president to end Planned Parenthood's federal funding
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate's top Republican is conceding that his party will have to await the next president before it can cut off federal funds that go to Planned Parenthood, prompting heated rebuffs from conservatives.
9:14PM ( 9 hours ago )